Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Rosa Cuthbert Guy (gee) immigrated from Trinidad with her parents and sister to Harlem at the age of seven. Her mother died when she was nine, and Guy, after living with an aunt for a time, was raised by her demanding father, who seems to have closely resembled Phylissia Cathy’s irascible father in The Friends. Guy’s father died when she was fifteen. Of her experiences growing up on the streets of New York, Guy later wrote: “Before my eyes many dramas unfolded, dramas which out-Dickensed Dickens, and equaled if not rivaled the Brontë sisters in passion.” In 1941, Rosa Cuthbert married Warner Guy, with whom she had one son, also named Warner. Rosa and Warner Guy were divorced in 1950, and he was killed in 1962.
Guy studied at New York University and with the American Negro Theater, where her frustration with the limitations on roles for black actors, along with a larger anger at what she calls “the obvious flaw woven into the fabric of this democratic society” led to her beginning to write. In 1951, together with John Killens, Guy founded the influential Harlem Writers Guild. In addition to her activities as an anthropologist and writer, she also participated in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s, both in New York and in the South.
Guy has written for children and for adults, but her best-known works are her trilogy for young adults consisting of The Friends, Ruby, and Edith Jackson....
(The entire section is 828 words.)
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In The Friends, Rosa Guy provides a vivid portrait of two cultures, demonstrating the immigrant's struggle to integrate old and new ways of life. Many of these details come from her own experiences.
Guy was born in Diego Martin, Trinidad, on September 1 of either 1925 or 1928; she has declined to confirm either date. Her early years bear many similarities to the lives of the Cathay sisters in the novel. When Guy's parents, Henry and Audrey Cuthbert, moved to New York City, she and her sister, Ameze, remained in Trinidad. In 1932, they rejoined their parents. Unfortunately, shortly after their arrival, Audrey Cuthbert became seriously ill. The sisters then moved in with a cousin, a political activist who supported Marcus Garvey's philosophy of political and economic independence for blacks. Guy traces the social awareness of her novels for young adults to these years.
In 1934, Guy's mother died. The sisters returned to live with their father, but he also died a few years later. At fourteen, Guy was forced to leave school in order to support her older sister who was ill and unable to work. She married Warren Guy in 1941 and one year later gave birth to a son, Warren Jr.
While her husband was away in the service during World War II, she became involved with the American Negro Theater. After his return, however, the family moved to Connecticut. When the couple divorced in 1950, she resumed her life in New York City, continuing...
(The entire section is 503 words.)